Whisky Shop Staff

Alex, shop manager

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
January 2007.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Depends on the time of day, what I'm eating, the time of year. I don't drink beer, but apart from that, I'm open to anything.

Desert-island dram?
Clynelish 1972 34yo from Single Malts of Scotland. It has the classic Clynelish waxiness and fabulous fruit as well as a really interesting smokiness; my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
Age and maturity are not necessarily linked. A lesson I have taken into all aspects of my life.

Favourite cocktail?
A Negroni if it's before dinner; a Manhattan after.

Chris, senior assistant manager

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
August 2006. A brief sojourn to head office in 2009, before returning to a management role in the shop.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
In the summer, a whisky highball. Year round, though, beer. Not so keen on super-hoppy IPAs, more likely to go for a well-made German wheat beer or a good old-fashioned pint of bitter.

Desert-island dram?
Benriach 1968.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
There are more than 20 million casks of whisky maturing in Scotland.

Favourite cocktail?
Blood and Sand. One of the first cocktails I ever tried, in The Hide Bar on Bermondsey Street, London. It was also the first time I had a cocktail with Antica Formula in it – a revelation.

Diego, Assistant Manager

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
July 2016.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Beer. Almost always a nice pint of stout, or always eager to try beers from Beavertown – love 'em!

Desert-island dram?
Bowmore 1957, which I tried at The Whisky Show Old & Rare in Glasgow. The nose and palate had all the fruitiness of those old Bowmores, and the smoke and peat character from Islay just balanced out the whole experience magically.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
All the information about closed distilleries and the old flavour styles of single malts.

Favourite cocktail?
A Toronto: rye or good bourbon, sugar syrup and a splash of Fernet Branca and bitters, usually served in a coupe, although I would rather have it in an Old Fashioned glass with a big chunk of ice. For something fresher, I'd go for a Paloma.

Miona, Supervisor

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
November 2015.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
It depends completely on my mood, surroundings and who I am with. It might be a nice glass of white wine or a well-crafted cocktail.

Desert-island dram?
Caledonian 'The Cally' 1974 40 Year Old from the 2015 Diageo Special Releases. The nose on that dram is just amazing – full of aromas, with a nicely balanced salted-toffee flavour. Sometimes you just have to follow your sweet tooth.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
Mortlach's 2.81 distillation process.

Favourite cocktail?
A version of the classic Boulevardier that was put together by bartender Tero Räisänen with Antica Formula, nice bourbon and Cocchi Americano Rosa (or Aperol for something a bit sweeter) with nice complementing bitters. It is just a beautiful cocktail for any occasion.

Duncan, senior whisky specialist

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
August 2007.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Gin (in cocktails), due to its versatility, plus the occasional ale.

Desert-island dram?
Ardbeg 1974 Provenance. Smoky heaven.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
There is always something new happening.

Favourite cocktail?
G&T – so many gins to try!

Ed, spirits advisor

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
May 2011.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Cognac and Armagnac. They take up most of my drinking and working time away from TWE.

Desert-island dram?
So hard! But if I had to pick just one, it would be the first release of 2005 Berry Bros & Rudd Ledaig. It really proves that older is not better.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
Just how much obscure stuff Duncan knows.

Favourite cocktail?
The Boulevardier. Combines the lightness of a Negroni with the spicy punch of a Manhattan. And it's very easy to make.

Fern, spirits advisor

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
November 2013.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Beer – there's so many kinds!

Desert-island dram?
Clynelish 23yo Rare Malts. I tried it at Duncan's Magnificent Seven tasting and I just fell in love.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
Just how much casks affect whisky.

Favourite cocktail?
Gin and tonic – simple but easily varied.

Stephen, spirits advisor

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
October 2015.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Red wine. Drinking whisky makes me crave heavy, bold rich reds with plenty of oak. I love Rioja and large Californian Cabernets and Zinfandel. Ridge and Muga are my favourite wineries.

Desert-island dram?
If it was Scotch, then Bowmore 18 Year Old – stunning, never disappointing and generally always available. But I would have to go for a rare aged rye whiskey – Rittenhouse 23 Year Old. Such a beautiful whiskey.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
I've learned that single blends exist, such as Ben Nevis.

Favourite cocktail?
A Manhattan made with a barrel-proof rye (Old Scout is amazing), Carpano Antica Formula and hopped grapefruit bitters, served with a cherry.

Egle, spirits advisor

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
October 2016.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Wine. Which one depends on my mood, surroundings, and the food I am enjoying it with. A good dry cider would be another option.

Desert-island dram?
Bruichladdich 2002 13 Year Old TWE Exclusive. Incredible complexity, fresh fruity character complemented by savoury elements and an almost peachy, velvety palate. Very moreish – what else you could ask for?

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
That non-age-statement (NAS) whiskies can be as good and complex as some age-statement ones.

Favourite cocktail?
Old Fashioned. Simple and classic always works for me.

Peter, spirits advisor

When did you start working at The Whisky Exchange?
October 2016.

When you're not drinking whisky, what are you drinking?
Straight-talking gins, amorous Armagnacs and complex Cognacs. I have truly fallen in love with the wonderful Darroze range, Frapin Multi Millesime, Hine Bonneuil 2006 and Four Pillars Navy Strength.

Desert-island dram?
Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt. Not only was it the staple whisky that Ernest Shackleton took on his Antarctic adventures, but it is absolutely one of the most complex blended malts I've tried in a long time. An absolute joy.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about whisky since you've joined?
The ebb and flow through time of the number of closed, current and planned new distilleries is fascinating stuff that adds to the fabric of life.

Favourite cocktail?
Take a generous measure of Espolon Tequila, throw in some old-school Combier Triple Sec, top with fresh lime juice in a sea-salt-lined cocktail glass and enjoy a Margarita at its best.